Mancini’s

Sarah had acquired a new pair of sparkly gold shoes, so she invited us all to join her at Mancini’s, an old steak restaurant in St. Paul dripping with heavy red curtains and watered down cocktails. Suits were involved, and a big band tapping their feet on a stage glittering with christmas lights and bows, trumpeting out “Little Sister.” I’d busted out some faux furs and a silk dress I’d found at a thrift store for ten bucks. I’ve only recently decided that I’m old enough to wear lipstick, so whenever the opportunity presents itself I get really excited.

“Can you taste any vodka in my vodka cranberry?” Joanna asked. “I’m pretty sure this is just Juicy Juice.”

“You should . . . send that back,” someone confirmed.

While we waited at the bar, an older man tapped me on the shoulder. “I’d really love it if you danced with me, just one dance,” he said.

“I dance with anyone!” I said, taking his hand.

He swirled me around, told me I’d put a spell on him. He said I had those angel devil eyes. At the end of the night, he patted my back. “I know you have a boyfriend, but I just put my business card in your dress,” he said. “And if that ever changes, call me.”

My spindly arms twisted and grasped my halterline in alarm. “That is a smooth move!” I cried.

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